For most schools worldwide, virtual education has allowed learning to continue amid COVID-19 pandemic.
However, this unplanned and unprecedented shift from offline to online learning is a challenge for educators and some students and parents. Remote learning has added an extra layer of difficulty, especially for parents. They are not trained as educators, so the need to structure and plan their wards' online learning is a bit difficult. They are looking for ways and tips to keep a pace in this new "world of virtual learning" and help their child achieve the best learning experience.
In this post, we have enlisted a few amazing tips and strategies for parents for their kids' online and at-home learning, recommended by experts.
Create a learning space
In online learning or remote teaching, whatever you may call, students are free to attend their classes and complete their work from wherever they want. Thus, it is important to choose the right "workstation" at home for their effective learning. It makes a huge difference in a learners' mindset and ability to focus.
For this, you should talk to your kids, know what interests them, think about their personality and needs, what comforts them etc. This would help prepare a customized learning space. For instance, if your child thrives on a calm &compose environment, make sure that s/he has a comfortable sitting area in the room. Ensure that they have easy access to the study materials and supplies so that s/he need not move and concentrate fully in the class.
Make a schedule and stick to it
When learning at home, it is obvious to have no school bells to mark kids tardy and begin or end a class, making kids sleepy. Also, with no set timetable, kids might never get around to schoolwork. Therefore, a planned schedule is required. When setting a schedule, find answers to questions like whether your kid needs help from you or siblings (if any) to get started? Is your kid a middle-schooler or high-schooler? If so, at what time are they most wake and in the mood to learn? Are you including time for exercise and brain breaks in their schedule? And more. Once you get an answer to all to decide when your child will be the best at learning, identify that time as learning time (after online class) and stick with it.
According to a report, students spend about one-fifth of class time on laptops, smartphones and tablets. They check their mobile phones 11.43 times a day on average for "non-class purposes." Most said they do so to stay connected and fight boredom. This behaviour might be more common in virtual learning. It may also lead to more usage of social media or web surfing and affect students' performance.
Also, our homes are filled with lots of distractions. Learners, if younger might get distracted by pets, TV or other favourite things around when doing schoolwork.
Therefore, it would be good to keep pets or another source of distractions away from the learning space. In the case of social media or gaming sites, you may block them on your child's device during instructional time. Turning off Wi-Fi or cellular data, if not required, is also a solution.
Give brain breaks
Excess exposure to screen may lead to several health problems. Having them use a small amount of daily screen are not harmful and may have some additional benefits.
Also, not all kids can withstand the entire class at one go. They may need more frequent breaks than others. Including "brain breaks" in between online learning could be of great help. A young child may require a quick break after staying on a task for five to twenty-five minutes, while older learners may require a break within an hour; give breaks, accordingly.
Allow for plenty of exercises
Physical activities are natural stress busters and help prevent anxiety. According to experts, when we perform activities like move, groove or even tap our feet on some music, our heart-rate goes-up and help improve our problem-solving skill, memory, and attention. It also leaves a positive impact.
Identify a suitable time and plan for a workout session with your kids at home. You might also consider exercise breaks throughout the day or a short evening walk in your garden.
Work on accessibility features
Every phone, laptop, and mobile device have different built-in assistive technology and cater to an individual's needs. For instance, a device with a "read aloud" feature can help struggling readers. While another with "text-to-speech" may help struggling writers. If your child has trouble understanding YouTube videos, you can adjust the settings to slow down the playback speed. You can also turn on the captions to help your child read the text while listening to videos. See which features help your kid access digital content and pick the ones that fit their requirements and preferences.
Reach out to your child's teacher
Online learning at home requires family support. Despite having an online instructor on the other side of the screen, your child may require additional support and assistance. To support better, set up a direct line of communication with your child's teachers. You may use email, text, phone calls, or video conferencing to connect.
It is possible that sometimes, you may not be sure of how to do an assignment or even want to set up a day and time to connect with the teacher to talk about difficulties your child is facing, review upcoming instruction and understand expectations. So, please do not delay and reach out to them at the earliest. Your proactiveness would help your child if struggling in school.
Find ways to remove learning barriers
Every child has different learning abilities; some may learn quickly; while some may struggle. Therefore, you need to review the learning material provided by the school. Find answers to the question like what options teachers offer to help struggling learners? Does the teacher include supports to help kids with things like getting organized, identifying the main idea, and taking notes?
Work with your kid's teachers to identify and remove any barriers. Your step could be helpful for other children, too.
A consistent schoolwork schedule allows parents to plan the workday and let students more easily transition in and out of school time. Before creating a schedule, check online class timings provided by the school, try getting your child on their schedule when they were attending traditional classes. Make them wake up at the same time and do schoolwork in the same manner and plan the day, accordingly.
It is also important to find out what works best when they are more focused and learn better. Set a schedule to observe your child's performance, figure out the optimal length of learning sessions, and manage their session time, accordingly.
Amid all, your kids need to be good at recognizing and managing their emotions.
Being a parent, you should talk to your kids about the connection between bodies and brains and ask how they feel when frustrated, excited, or sad. Once done, help kids know how to balance their emotions and encourage self-regulation.
Drop-in your suggestions as parents.